Go break a leg my son

Our son was a late walker, meaning that he enjoyed being carried around by his parents and why shouldn’t he, it’s a lot more comfortable and easier than doing it yourself.  But, the time came when we weren’t quick enough to pick up his highness.  As a result, he started to venture off on his own – exploring a new World.

Initially he was holding on to every possible ledge, chair, dog and table, as well as relying on the walls to support him too.  He quickly developed excellent ninja skills, by being one with the walls. He would all of a sudden appear and just laugh.  We were delighted, but not as happy as he was.  Imagine, he was no longer relying on us to move him from A to B, but he could now charge at his girlfriends and the dinner table at his own pace.  He would move from A to D in a flash.

Unfortunately, learning to walk has some disadvantages too, mainly for the parents and the home insurance;

  • Everything below 1 meter had to be nailed to the wall, bookcase or table
  • Valuable items had to be placed in the centre of the tables, out of reach
  • Anything found would be thrown with force acroos the room
  • The dogs lost bunches of hair from their backs, exactly where he held on
  • All dogs developed nervous twitches when they heard he was near- afraid to lose more hair
  • Every kitchen cuppboard and its contents was be tested, by opening/closing it rapidly, and the inside ripped out on the floor
  • Leaving our laptop or iPhone (we only had the iPhone 3G back then) unattended on the coffee table, would normally result in both covering a large amount of floor space – amazing how many pieces makes up an iPhone!

These might seem like insignificant consequences for us parents, but the increase to the home + content insurance was not.  “Thankfully”, our son only threw the kids’ DVDs across the room, and used these as skis.  We replaced the majority of these 2-3 times.

Walking on stairs is something that always seem to be of great interest to kids at that age.  I’m not too sure if it is a thrill seeker moment, desire to climb Kilmanjaro or simply testing our nerves.  Either way, our son found it amusing to climb the stairs, to be quickly chased and grabbed by one of us.  Those were and are scary times, but that’s probably because we as parents imagine the worst case scenario and freak out.  On a postitive note, this allows me to work on my fitness and I’m getting excellent at step on the Wii, all thanks to chasing my son up the stairs.

Unfortunately, even the best can fail and our son had a minor accident.  The gate to the attic had been destroyed by our son’s constant pulling and battering, so it was temporarily out of order.  In a split second, he made it almost all the way up, but miscalculated one step and came tumbling down the stairs in best Jackie Chan style.  Pretty scary moment.  You never know what might have happened; broken limbs, internal injuries or fractured skull.

Luckily for him/us, my wife caught him just before he hit the floor, as he was somersaulting off the last two steps.  Excellent catch!  There didn’t appear to be any visible injuries other than he was pretty pissed off that he had fallen and wanted to relax.

Shortly after, having relaxed for 20 seconds, he wanted to move around.  It was pretty clear that his leg had been brused somehow, and my wife went to the hospital, just in case.

A mere 7 hours later she returned home with our son, with his right leg in cast.  Not only was his ankle or below his knee in cast, but the entire length of the leg all the way to the hip joint.  He had bent the bone slightly – toddlers have soft bones – but nothing was broken.  Phew!

We had fun in the beginning, writing names on the cast, drawing pictures and taking pictures.  He thought it was a little bit funny too, despite it being somewhat uncomfortable.

Falling asleep was when we first relalised what to expect in the next few days – absolute mayhem and aggrevation.  See, he likes to sleep in featus position, but that’s pretty difficult with a full length leg cast.  He would scream, grab my ears and look deep into my eyes begging to be released from this prison – or simply beat me with his allies; Woody or Elmo (favourite toys).  After an hour of fierce battle, he would finally fall asleep, only to wake up every 30 minutes, because he couldn’t move.  Us parents became walking zombie, day and night, trying to help our son.  At times, I felt like ripping off the fecking cast, just so all of us could get some rest.

The frustration came out for real in the coming days.  Imagine, he was just learning to walk and had his independence.  Now he was back to being stuck with his slow old parents.  We tried to entertain him and let him see some of his favourite DVDs, even if that meant watching Barnyard 40 times.  Everytime his grandma came over, he was the sweetest boy, just looking for her to hug and kiss him all the time – which he enjoyed fully.  As soon as she left, the spirit of the evil cast came back to haunt us.  I swear, the cast managed to break several bones in my hand, as the leg quickly slammed down on the table, crushing my hand.  He didn’t do it!  (or at least that’s was his eyes said)

The scratching underneath the cast was another problem.  I’ve never had a cast on myself, but some of my friends told me that this can be torture.  I know the frustration not being able to reach an itchy point on the back, ending up using the door frame, so I can only imagine the feeling he might have gone through trying to itch his leg under the cast.

I knew a cast could weigh a bit, but this was ridiculous.  It was so heavy, which made me think that they must invent some lightweight cast in NASA that we could buy, but we wouldn’t get it in time anyway.  Then again, it helped with my fitness level on the Wii, lifting him and carrying him around.

He needed to wear the cast for 14 days…14 days!!!  What was the doctor thinking?  I know, it was in our son’s best interest and for his safety; his leg needed the support.  After 8 days of pure agony and frustration, we decided enough is enough, and my wife asked the doctor to remove the cast.  I feel sorry for any kid, at his age, having to wear a cast for any longer than 24 hours.

I’ve never seen our son so happy as when he returned cast-free.  Even if he only had it on for 8 days, his leg was a little bit weaker, to my amusement, as he sometimes limped like an old man. He dragged his leg behind him. If he had put on a Jack Sparrow costume, then he was walking like a real pirate.  Soon after, he started to move around the house again, much to the disappointment of the dogs, who had been relaxing for almost 8 days by not being chased.  He was dancing like a ballerina, when we weren’t watching of course, and enjoyed his freedom again like William Wallace, except for not wearing a kilt and screaming “Freeeeedooom”.

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